British Summer Time…

This week has been switching between beautiful blue skies and sudden and torrential rain.  Usually within 10 minutes of each other.  This is challenging when you have a small who just want to go to the local park.  In fact, I have just resorted to buying her a waterproof onesie so that the rain can’t interrupt play anymore!  But you can tell she is starting to feel the cold when in the middle of August she starts to pick through my DK stash to identify the yarns she wants to go in her new blanket.  Lots of different shades of grey with the occasional flash of colour.  I think she has an eye for it, if I am honest.

FullSizeRender 26

And I really, really haven’t forgotten that I need to do the last 2 parts of the Granny Blanket pattern.  I have the squares and I think I will pick those up and get cracking on those again next week so that I can finish the instructions for the complete blanket.

photo 51

I really love that pattern.  The first one was made in Ice yarn and its soft and cosy, but acrylic, and I noticed the other day that there is a honking great error (which you have to look closely to spot) in one place.  It has taken me a long time to notice it, and it won’t stop me using it, but its annoying me.  So I really want to finish my current incarnation of it, which is being worked up in hand-dyed merino yarn and which I intend to bury myself under as soon as its made.  Its a good hibernation blanket that one, and mercifully  it is quick to make.

Small person has asked for a square-based blanket but I am keen to try out a stripey blanket based on V stitch, as I saw one the other day made from scraps and it was just beautiful.  So I will have a little play with that and, of course, I will document it on here in case you fancy making something similar.

Blankets were the thing that got me into crochet in the first place.  It was my (still unrealised) desire to make a 1970’s style granny blanket that made me keep trying to fathom crochet out.  I have made one for my Mum  (shown below) and another for my daughter (pattern is the Attic 24 Cosy blanket, for those who fancy one of their own).

cosyblanket

I have been pleased by how much she seems to enjoy it – it is a night time ‘wave’ when I tuck her in, a play mat, and a poorly blanket.  It is something she can’t outgrow and will always have for as long as she wants it.  And when she doesn’t want it any more, it will be a cherished momento of her childhood for me, as I sit and dribble into my cocoa, and wonder where the time went…Probably still watching the rain run down the window!

IMG_2262

Advertisements

Special Days

I’m starting to get excited for the summer now!  I have just submitted the last big piece of work I had to get done before the end of July, and it is just tidying up loose ends at the day job next week. Today has also be special because I have said goodbye to two colleagues – one is going to a new job, and other – the person who taught me how to crochet and therefore is responsible for you reading this – is going off on maternity leave very soon.  So we threw a surprise party for both of them today.  My yarny friend got a box of baby things, including the cosy blanket you have seen me making on instagram, and a little matching hat of my own creation.  I am really pleased with how they both came out, and I even blocked the blanket, which I normally never do.  I will pop the hat pattern up here over the weekend for those of you who fancy making it.  It is a great little project for using up the left over yarn from a blanket make!

IMG_0788

I also wanted to get my friend a special something from me to celebrate our yarny relationship.  So I asked Helen from Bare Threads to make up a bespoke yarn box.  I told her a bit about my friend and she came up with this – all so beautiful, all handmade, all ethically sourced.  I cannot recommend Helen to you highly enough.  Her yarns are exceptional and at the moment her yarns tend to sell out before they get onto Etsy, so it is worth contacting her directly if you want to get your hands on her goodies.  Oh dear.  That sounds a bit wrong doesn’t it.  Sorry Helen.

Anyway, the final reason to be cheerful today is that it is ONE SLEEP UNTIL FIBRE EAST.  See me doing the happy, happy dance of yarn joy!  The yarn ban is temporarily lifted and I get to take three of my best friend to fondle some fine wares.  I will get to see some yarn contacts / friends there too, so I am very excited.

So, expect lots of yarn porn shots on my instagram feed this weekend and hopefully at least one, if not two, blog posts as I get overexcited and giddy.

Nothing clashes in nature…

I am experiencing the rather odd sensation of starting my blog during the early evening rather than at the dead of night.  This is because, in a random act of good mummy-ing (not a regular feature of my life, although it is a daily aspiration), I took my daughter to the swimming pool and then to the park.  It is a warm day, and so the combination of all these things has resulted in the small one crashing early; what I had assumed would be a nap is now looking like it will be her night sleep too.

IMG_0680

So, here I sit, rather disorientated if I am honest.  I have been working on a circular blanket as a thank you gift for my daughter’s nursery, but I have run out of yellow yarn and so I have had to put that WIP down for now.  I wandered out into my overgrown garden (it is too hot to start weeding) and started taking some pictures for inspiration.  That is, sometimes you can get stuck in a colour rut.  As much as I love rainbows and ombre colour schemes, they can get tired sometimes, and I also have a tendency to gravitate to the same colours time and again. So, it is nice to go a bit crazy and put some different colours together occasionally.  I love the way you can get a mundane colour to pop or to take on a new look by changing the colours they are combined with. Colours I wouldn’t necessarily  go for on paper can look amazing when used in the right proportions together.

IMG_0673

My garden provides masses of inspiration for this.  It is wild this time of year, with lots of self-seeded flowers mixed in with the intentional planting. I can take credit for none of it, as I inherited it from the previous owner of our house.  It is far from formal, especially as I don’t get as much time to tidy it up as I would like, but somehow it works for me.

IMG_0677

Shawl number 3 from Shawl Club has gone up on Ravelry (blog post reveal to follow), and the yarn is being mailed out by Unbelievawool tomorrow morning.  It has also been inspired by one of the flowers that self-seeds itself though my garden, but that I have a real soft spot for.  The yarn I used for the Ravelry pictures was an early play with colours which we were not entirely happy with, but the final club yarn is a wowzer, and should look amazing.

Anyway, the colours in my garden have succeeded in giving me some ideas this evening.  That is, I have some ideas for new projects that I want to test and develop over the summer whilst I have some downtime from the day job.  I was rummaging and re-rummaging though my drawers of yarn earlier and couldn’t decide what to do.  But a little wander through my garden has done the trick.  Now I just need a little time to play.

Somewhat appropriately for the remembrance activities this week, I also found these stray red poppies growing in the gravel of my path.  Lest we forget.

IMG_0678

Doing it for the kids…

Its been a while since my last post.  It has been super hectic at knackeredpsycho HQ, such that I had to take a bit of bed rest at one point to catch up on sleep!  The day job is crazy busy until the end of July, and so my precious hooky time is being sidelined at the moment.  And my obsession with knitting socks as a way of destashing has also meant that the time I have had has been spent with the pointy sticks rather than my hooks.  But come August I plan to bury myself in yarn and work up all the designs I have been scribbling down on bits of paper.  I have some plans for a little set of children’s items which I will share with you as they develop.  All my shawl club bits I have had to keep under wraps, but I am looking forward to sharing some more of my projects with you as they develop.

The other things that are keeping me busy include the need for me to make a special blanket for my daughter’s nursery as a thank you before she leaves this summer, and to make lots of cute baby things as one of my friends is expecting her first baby and its a good excuse to produce lots of very quick makes.  The added bonus is that these makes have to be in a practical yarn, and so I get to use up some of my nicer acrylic yarn as part of Project Destash.

I cannot show you my friend’s gifts as she reads this blog (!), but I thought I would show you some of my favourite baby and small child makes from the last year.  Firstly, I love to make blankets, and these are firm favourites.  This was my first star blanket, which used baby soft merino DK and was for a newborn.  When I had my daughter most of the blankets I was given were too large to tuck around her in her car seat.  This one is the perfect size.  It used up yarn left over from a Peppa Pig jumper I had knitted for my daughter, which is why the colours are a little unusual, but putting them in this order really made each colour pop and I loved the final effect!

IMG_1387.JPG

My go-to cot blanket is a shrunk down version of an Attic 24 cosy stripe blanket.  If you begin with a starting chain of 120 it comes up the perfect width.  For baby versions I prefer to use a neutral on the ‘plain’ rows and a variegated yarn in the granny treble rows, like this one I made using left over Ice Yarn:

IMG_2005.JPG

At Christmas I was asked to make an owl themed blanket for a friend’s sister-in-law.  I used The Hat and I’s pattern for this one, and added the lettering using the Moogly Alphabet patterns.

IMG_2396.JPG

Clothes are always fun for little people.  Last year we were stuck in a traffic jam and I made this circular cardigan for my daughter in the time I was trapped in the car (we missed our ferry to Ireland, so I had extra hooky time).  The yarn was King Cole Riot, but my little one found it a bit too scratchy to wear, so I would make it in a cotton or bamboo for her next time.  But this was so quick and easy to make and I loved the final effect.  The pattern was a free one from Drops yarn, found on Ravelry, but there are lots of similar ones out there too.

IMG_1871.JPG

In terms of hats, I like this, the Little Sister hat, without the flower.  This one is worked in some left over merino sock yarn from Fleabubs (the Scientist was the colourway).  It can look girly but in this yarn I think it works for a newborn of either gender.

IMG_2103.JPG

You can see that I like to use strong colours with little people – something that will hide the messes but that make a really nice statement piece.  I am toying with making a very special little set in honour of my friend’s baby, and as soon as I have done it I will share it with you here as a free pattern.  I just need to put the socks down long enough to make it!

 

Euro-joy

I love Eurovision.  Bear with me.  I know this doesn’t look crochet-related, but it is.

Eurovision has been one of the highlights of my year, along with World’s Strongest Man at Christmas time, ever since I was small.  I love the highly variable quality of the music, the gimmicks, the crazy costumes, the inappropriate commentary, the hope during voting, the devastation when we are marked poorly, and (vary rarely) the joy when we do well.  It has a personal significance because the last time the UK won it (1997, in case you were wondering) also marked the evening when my OH and I had our first date.  So it also operates as our official anniversary.

Sometimes we have a party, but more often we just get in food which is roughly representative of the various nations participating, put it on the table in the living room, and go on a culinary journey around the world, as well as a musical one.

I feel the need to celebrate Eurovision this year with something suitably tacky-retro to crochet whilst I am watching it.  For me, it is so closely associated with the 70s and 80s that I decided to pick out a quick stashbusting make out of these vintage pattern books that I bought a while ago.

FullSizeRender 4

My mum used to have patterns like these when I was a child, but they were given away before I could acquire them.  But what to make?  I am leaning towards a retro tea cosy, or perhaps a toilet roll cover, as some of the costumes worn this year do remind me of one of those crocheted dolls that you used to find at your friend’s house, dressing up the toilet rolls.

FullSizeRender 5

But I think a tea cosy is more me.  Tea and Eurovision are life essentials.  So I think I will go with this one.

FullSizeRender 6

I also have an idea in my head for my own retro take on a peg bag, as I need a new one and I have loads of acrylic to use up.  If I get to make it this weekend I will pop it up here as a quick make, along with my other free patterns.  And speaking of quick makes, I haven’t forgotten about the next part of the retro blanket.  So make sure you are up to Part 2 as Part 3 will be along soon!

 

Granny Blanket: Part 2

Blog followers will know that recently I started to post the instructions for constructing this granny blanket (the ‘knackered granny blanket’!).

Part 1 covered the instructions for making the five granny squares you need to start off with.  Hopefully by now you have your granny squares made and ready for joining.   To join them together, you will need your turquoise blue yarn (if you are following the colour scheme pictured here).

blanket

Reminder: UK Crochet terms are used throughout. TB refers to a Treble Crochet in UK terminology (DC in US terminology).

Special Stitch: TB3tog.  Yarn over hook (YOH), insert hook in space, YOH and pull up a loop, YOH and pull through first two stitches on hook only (2 loops on hook); yarn over hook (YOH), insert hook in space, YOH and pull up a loop, YOH and pull through first two stitches on hook only (3 loops on hook); yarn over hook (YOH), insert hook in space, YOH and pull up a loop, YOH and pull through first two stitches on hook only (4 loops on hook). Finally, YOH and pull yarn through all stitches on hook.

Instructions:

You are going to work along just two sides of your squares only initially, as shown in the picture at the top of this post.

Row 1:

Take your first square, join your turquoise yarn to a corner space, and chain 4.  Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces.  Chain 1.

Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces.  Chain 1. Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces. Chain 1. Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Next (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SIX chain spaces.  Chain 1. Into the next space (which should be your next corner space), work a TB3tog, pick up your next square, select a corner to join into, and then also work a TB3tog into that space.

Finally, (chain 1 and 3TB) into each of the next seven chain spaces along, which should take you into the next corner space.  Chain 2 and 3TB into that same corner space so that you are turning the corner.  Then (chain 1 and 3TB) into the next SEVEN chain spaces. Turn.

Row 2:

Chain 4. (3TB and chain 1) into the chain spaces in the row just completed until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SEVEN times. Chain 1 and TB into the Chain 3 at the start of the previous blue row.  Turn.

Row 3:

Chain 4. (3TB and chain 1) into the chain spaces in the row just completed until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SEVEN times. Chain 1 and TB into the 3rd chain in the Chain 4 at the start of the previous row.  Turn.

Row 4:

Chain 4. (3TB and chain 1) into the chain spaces in the row just completed until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times, and then TB3tog twice into the next two chain spaces where the squares meet each other. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SIX times until you reach the first corner, where you will need to work (3TB, chain 2, 3TB) to turn that corner. Chain 1, and (3TB and chain 1) SEVEN times. Chain 1 and TB into the 3rd chain in the Chain 4 at the start of the previous row.  Break yarn. Change to next colour of yarn in sequence.

You can now continue the blocks of four stripes until you have a series of stripes as illustrated below:

photo 51

You can see in this picture I have already started to complete the stripes on the other side of the blanket, but you will only have one turquoise stripe in yours at this stage. Once you have got to this point, I will post the instructions on how to complete the other side of the blanket in Part 3.

If you get stuck, leave me a comment and I will be happy to help.

 

Granny Blanket: Part 1

Following on from my last post, when I talked about what sort of yarn you will need for this blanket, here is the first stage of its construction.  You need to make five granny squares, each one consisting of seven rounds of stitches.  If you know how to do a granny square, then you don’t need to follow what is in the rest of this particular blog post, other than to note that the first two rounds will be in your first colour (in the illustration, I used a pinky-red yarn), then the next round was white, followed by a round of orange, followed by a round of white yarn, followed by a round of yellow, and finished with a final round of white.  Of course, you don’t need to use those colours, but I will refer to the colours I have used in the picture so you know where I am at in the construction of the square.

photo 39

I used a 4mm hook throughout this blanket.

UK terms are used throughout and TB = treble crochet.

ROUND 1: With pinky-red yarn, Chain 4 and slip stitch into first chain to make a circle. Chain 3 (counts as one TB) and then 2TB into circle, chain 2, 3TB into circle, chain 2, 3TB into circle, chain 2, 3TB into circle, chain 2 and slip stitch into top of chain 3 to complete the first round.

ROUND 2: Slip stitch into the top of each of the first three trebles of the row below.  Slip stitch into the chain space, and then chain 3 and 2TB into the first chain space, chain 2, 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. Chain 1 and 3TB into the next chain space. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. Chain 1 and 3TB into the next chain space. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. Chain 1 and 3TB into the next chain space. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. Chain 1 and slip stitch into the top of the chain 3 you made at the beginning of the round.  Break yarn.

ROUND 3: Join WHITE yarn to a corner chain space. Chain 3, 2TB into the chain space chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space. Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space. Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space. Chain 1 and 3TB. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space. Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space. Chain 1 and slip stitch into the top of the chain 3 you made at the beginning of the round.  Break yarn.

ROUND 4: Join ORANGE yarn to a corner chain space. Chain 3, 2TB into the chain space chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) three times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) three times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB  into next chain space) three times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) twice. Chain 1 and slip stitch into the top of the chain 3 you made at the beginning of the round.  Break yarn.

ROUND 5: Join WHITE yarn to a corner chain space. Chain 3, 2TB into the chain space chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) four times.  Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) four times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) four times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) three times. Chain 1 and slip stitch into the top of the chain 3 you made at the beginning of the round.  Break yarn.

ROUND 6: Join YELLOW yarn to a corner chain space. Chain 3, 2TB into the chain space chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) five times.  Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) five times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) five times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) four times. Chain 1 and slip stitch into the top of the chain 3 you made at the beginning of the round.  Break yarn.

ROUND 7: Join WHITE yarn to a corner chain space. Chain 3, 2TB into the chain space chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) six times.  Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) six times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) six times. Chain 2 and 3TB into the SAME chain space as the one you have just worked. (Chain 1 and 3TB into next chain space) five times. Chain 1 and slip stitch into the top of the chain 3 you made at the beginning of the round.  Break yarn.

Make five of these squares and sew in your ends (don’t be like me and leave them all to the end – I still haven’t finished sewing in the end on my blanket, and I made it a year ago!).  You can make more if you want a wider blanket, or fewer if you want a smaller one.

I will give you a bit of time to get these done and in the next part I will explain how you use a ripple stripe to join the squares together point-to-point.  Any questions, leave me a comment and I will help!